Arpaden is a hobbyhorse — the pony equivalent of a dadaist. His cutie mark is a schnurruhr, or "mustache watch." His special talent is making bizarre and nearly-abstract iconic art — in the forms of drawing, painting, and sculpture. He lives in Manehatten, in the Muntjac Apartments complex, room 1729, which he has made into an art workshop. His apartment is very cluttered with unfinished works of art. Stacks of paintings and rows of sculptures fill the rooms, with only narrow paths between them to get from place to place.
Arpaden was born to Equestrian parents in Strutsbourg, Middle Cervidas, but he later became a citizen of Equestria. While growing up, his parents spoke to him in Cervinese, the language of the deer, and it took him some time to learn English upon moving back to Equestria. His voice has a hot, flowing timbre that some would call “burbly” or “molten”— think Inspector Clouseau mixed with Hercule Poirot. Other ponies most frequently comment on his unusually dark outline if it catches their eye, however. He claims it is because of his lovely upbringing around deer, who shaped him into the stallion he is today.
Arpaden wears a large, thick, gray monocle that covers his left eye completely except for a small glass lens in the center. It is approximately 1 cm thick and 4 cm in diameter. He says that it is a fashion statement, but actually his vision is better in that eye and it functions as a patch to strengthen his right eye, albeit an artsy patch. If need be, it has a few secret tools in it — an ink capsule for attacks, either by inspiration or muggers; a high-intensity lamp, for finding his way in the dark; a slot for holding small bits of paper, notes, or messages; a six-sided die; and so on. He uses these sparingly and only with good reason.
Arpaden, the “team leader” of the Manehattenites, often meets with his friends at the restaurant Trakehner on Tenth, which serves food from foreign countries in a casual environment as well as all-Equestrian cuisine. Arpaden loves fine dining, and this restaurant serves every need. The restaurant, which they just call Trakehner, functions as their hang-out and get-together spot. Think something sort of like the Cheers bar but with a European immigrant flair, and also they’re kind of mystery-solvers.
Arpaden is perpetually frustrated by artist’s block and the struggles of keeping up with demand for his absurdly popular art; even he doesn’t understand why ponies like it, but it pays the bills. He has an odd sense of what constitutes art — he can find beauty in simple things like an egg or a clock. He is not too heavy of a licker — he can hold his salt fairly well — but when artist’s block strikes him hard, he goes straight for the bar in hopes that salt will give him ideas. Usually it doesn’t, but it can help him see the art in things that already exist.
Arpaden really, really likes storks and is always trying to find them or catch them to keep as pets, companions, muses, or models for his works of art. He is only ever successful in going to the zoo to see them, and when he does he knows from plenty of past experience that it is not allowed to climb into the enclosures to cuddle the storks and take them home.